RedRage Blog: A New Generation

The new RedRage Blog is a weekly feature on with co-founder Michael McCammon and his thoughts on events and happenings regarding University of Louisville athletics.

Just like the millions of times we've been told that Pepsi is the choice of a new generation, Louisville's newest flock of Cardinals is the first of a new generation at U of L.

The group of athletes that signed with the University of Louisville on Wednesday will be the first class to join a Cardinal program that will wear the Big East Conference patch and be eligible for the Bowl Championship Series title game from the moment they step on campus. This is a group of athletes that came to Louisville with not only a dream to play for national championship, but one that expects to compete for and play in the championship game.

Never before do the words from U of L head coach Bobby Petrino, when responding to a question during a press conference early in the season about his team cracking the Top 25 for the first time, echo true.

"Get used to it," he quickly replied.

In other words, Louisville football is here to stay and Petrino's class of 2005 believe it. Louisville has become a team that should never leave the national polls. Cardinal football no longer reloads!

With Louisville football now competing on the field and on the recruiting trails at a higher level than ever before, the program has witnessed a rapid growth in it's fan base.

Approximately 1,200-1,400 fans packed the Brown & Williamson Club at Papa John's Cardinal Stadium on Wednesday to watch video on the newest Cardinals and listen to Coach Petrino and his staff explain what they like about each player and how they anticipate them helping the team.

Just 30 minutes prior to the U of L signing day event beginning, Louisville received the type of national publicity that coaches dream of. Offensive lineman Brian Roche, appearing live on College Sports Television, turned to a locker and pulled out a red hat with a white "L" on the front and told the nation of his decision.

"I'm going to be a Cardinal," Roche said. "I'm going to Louisville!"

It's the start of a new generation at Louisville and the future is brighter than ever.

Speaking of Brian Roche...
I'm really looking forward to Brian Roche being a guest via telephone on Inside the Ville Radio this coming Monday. We'll talk to Brian about his experience of announcing his decision to a live national audience, his goals and more. Darius Mann and a couple more of the newest Cardinals will call in as well.

Get In Now. Before It's Too Late!
Remember those Louisville football billboards along the interstates that had the simple statement, "Get In Now"? Just a suggestion, but if you haven't taken the advice from those advertisements, you had better do so now.

With a home schedule of out of conference games against Oregon State, North Carolina and Howard Schnellenberger's Florida Atlantic, to go along with the visiting Big East Conference foes Pittsburgh, Syracuse and Rutgers, the next U of L ad campaign may read, "Too Late!"

U of L sold out four of it's five home contests in 2004 signaling what would very likely occur in the fall of 2005. Mark it down now, the 2005 season will be the first time in school history that the entire home schedule was sold out.

Biggest U of L Recruit Ever?
The debate as to which U of L signee over the years was the biggest for the program has become a more frequent discussion over the last few months.

The most common names are Michael Bush, Brian Brohm and Chris Redman. Recently players such as Brian Roche and Earl Heyman have entered into the equation.

Let's not forget, that prior to the days of such high interest in football recruiting, both locally and nationally, Louisville signed one of, if not the nation's best quarterback. Jeff Brohm, who now serves as the Cardinals quarterback coach, had scholarship offers from nearly every major program in the country, including Tennessee and Notre Dame.

Brohm, who was Kentucky's Mr. Football in 1988, directed the Cardinals to impressive wins against teams such as Texas, Arizona State, Pittsburgh and West Virginia during his senior season, capping it off with an 18-7 victory over Michigan State in the Liberty Bowl.

Brohm, whose performance in the 1993 Liberty Bowl earned him game MVP honors, coached the Cardinals Stefan LeFors through a season that ended in the senior quarterback also being honored as the Liberty Bowl MVP.

Maybe it is time to finally put a #11 jersey on the facade of Papa John's Cardinal Stadium and honor Jeff Brohm as one of the school's greatests.

I've read a number of posts on the message boards and have received numerous emails thanking me and Inside the Ville for once again providing the best coverage of Cardinal football recruiting.

For the third consecutive year, has been the leader in Cardinal football recruiting coverage, once again breaking the news on the latest commitments more than anyone, including the popular Tuesday Trifecta, when ITV broke word of Zach Anderson, Careg Bonner and Travis Norton all committing. ITV was once again the first stop for fans searching for what players would be making official visits, as well as complete follow up as each prospect returned home.

We have already turned our attention to next year's class (actually we started covering juniors early in the fall of 2004) and will once again cover recruiting in ways that others don't.

However, the thousands of visitors that visit the message boards, are the one's that truely fuel the fire. Thank you to all of the registered members of ITV, premium or not, for making's message boards the most active Cardinal boards on the net.

The Grind
Another game and the basketball Cardinals provide even further evidence that they have become a serious contender for the Final Four.

Louisville's 77-70 win over Cincinnati in Freedom Hall on Wednesday night wasn't a game that the Cardinals had to fight back. It also wasn't a game that the Cardinals were able to just outrun their opponent. The No.9 Cardinals were forced to grind out a victory against the Bearcats, who boast of our their dominating defensive style of play.

The Cardinals defeated the rival Bearcats desite losing Francisco Garcia and Ellis Myles to fouls late in the game. Rick Pitino's squad won on a night that Larry O'Bannon missed all of his nine shot attempts.

The win over Cincinnati not only gave Louisville control of its own destiny in the race for the regular season Conference USA title, but it also proved to the country that Louisville can win in a down to the wire, grind it out, type of game.

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